A good first step for employers and brokers seeking to develop a successful benefits program is to explore one-on-one enrollment. Not only do one-on-one meetings result in higher participation rates, but they are also preferred by employees, who rank it as one of the top three resources they perceive as effective when making their benefit elections, according to MetLife’s 13th annual Employee Benefit Trends Study.

The power of one-on-one enrollment lies in relationships. When employees receive guidance from experienced benefits counselors, they are able to see the value of voluntary products and to connect them to their needs. This is a win-win-win for the employees, employers and brokers:

• Employees benefit from the education they receive;

• Employers are empowered to offer an enhanced benefits package;

• Brokers gain stronger relationships with their existing clients.

By investing in one-on-one enrollment, employers can ensure that employees receive the benefits they need and can be confident in their benefits decisions.

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The power of one-on-one enrollment lies in relationships.

Two recent MetLife cases highlight the effectiveness of one-on-one enrollment and emphasize the importance of employee education and communication. MetLife’s work with Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind features an audience with a specific need identified by the employer. MetLife’s case with Segerdahl, a direct marketing solutions firm, illustrates how partnering with the right enrollment firm and a focus on education can ensure a successful one-on-one enrollment campaign. In both cases, MetLife met the needs of the customer, provided support for the broker and delivered communications materials and training to the enrollment firm.

Winston Salem Industries for the Blind

Broker David Googe, with Googe Financial Services, has a long history with Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind (WSIFB) a non-profit organization that provides employment, training, and services to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Googe had been working with WSIFB previously on group life and disability benefits. In late 2014, the organization expressed an interest in whole life. WSIFB had faced a difficult situation when a former employee passed away and there was no life insurance for the family as the WSIFB offerings had been limited to coverage that was not portable.

As a solution, Googe presented Texas Life Whole Life Insurance, which is underwritten by Texas Life Insurance Company and distributed by MetLife sales representatives. This whole life product, designed to protect employees’ loved ones should something happen to them for their entire life, is a policy that the employee owns and can never be cancelled. Because the employee owns it, he or she can take it with them when (s)he changes jobs or retires with no change in the premium.

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WSIFB achieved a 28% enrollment rate for its whole life insurance benefit offering.

In January and February of 2015, Googe worked with WSIFB on enrollment for an April 1, 2015 effective date. MetLife representatives worked with the broker and the organization to create custom content and educational materials, including audio emails, specifically targeted to the needs of WSIFB employees. As a result, employee demand was high and many employees requested one-on-one meetings to enroll. The roll-out was more successful than anticipated, and resulted in a 28% participation rate. As a result of the success, the organization is working on a second wave of enrollment.

Googe’s long history with the organization helped to ensure a smooth roll-out and helped to address any issues that arose during the enrollment process. Working very closely with MetLife and Texas Life, Googe was able to solve any issues that arose and kept enrollment simple for the employer and employees.

Segerdahl

In November 2014, Segerdahl, a direct marketing solutions firm, worked with MetLife Auto & Home® to offer MetLife Auto & Home XcelerateSM, an online shopping experience which gives employees an accurate, bindable auto insurance price in as little as two minutes. Segerdahl was one of the first groups to participate in the Xcelerate pilot and through this experience, they developed a strong relationship with MetLife Auto & Home. This was a result of the teamwork between insurance broker Willis and Marsia Thomas, a MetLife Auto & Home account executive who became involved in the relationship early on and helped lead the team to success.

To follow up on the success of the implementation of Xcelerate, Segerdahl approached MetLife about offering critical illness and accident benefits. To do so, Thomas brought in Lisa Bombacino Morales, an enrollment and communications leader (ECL) with MetLife. ECLs are unique to MetLife’s approach to worksite enrollment and are focused on helping employers and brokers select the best enrollment firm for their company and serving as a single point-of-contact to streamline implementation and administration. Together with the broker and the enrollment firm, they can help determine the best approach to ensure employers get the most value from their benefits program. For Segerdahl, Morales worked with Willis to select Innotech, a benefits communication and enrollment firm located in Chicago, Illinois, to manage the enrollment.

Offering critical illness and accident brought its own unique challenges. These benefits are generally less well understood compared to more common benefits, such as life, disability, dental and vision. In fact, the MetLife Study found that only 30% of employees understood what critical illness insurance was, compared with 70% of employees who understood dental insurance. Because of this, enrollment for these products needs to focus on education and helping employees understand how these products can address gaps in coverage.

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MetLife’s annual Employee Benefit Trends Study found that only 30% of employees understood what critical illness insurance was, compared with 70% of employees who understood dental insurance.

Innotech centered their enrollment strategy for Segerdahl on education. As they do for all of their cases, Innotech’s enrollment resources group’s benefits counselors went through extensive training and testing. Their goal is to make benefit offerings personal—to go beyond simply explaining the benefits of the product and focus on the employees’ needs; how the product may fit into their lives. MetLife provided comprehensive educational materials, which were incorporated into Innotech’s communications tools.

Segerdahl also played an important role in facilitating the adoption of critical illness and accident insurance among its employees. The company was committed to offering the best benefits for its employees, understood the importance of communications, and was supportive of setting up individual enrollment meetings for employees.

The education-centric approach worked, achieving a participation rate of over 50%. Typical participation rates for self-service or paper enrollments result in 7%-12% participation rates, showing the clear impact of one-on-one enrollment on participation.

Many elements contribute to the success of an employer’s benefits program, but without an effective communications and enrollment strategy, an offering may be doomed from the start.

The MetLife Study found that two key drivers are involved in establishing employee benefit selection confidence: the benefit information needs to be easy to understand and the benefit communication needs to help explain how much the employee would pay for special services. The study also found that less than half of employees strongly agree their company’s benefit communications meet these requirements, pointing to an opportunity for employers to better address these areas. One-on-one enrollment support can assist with the benefit education process.

For brokers and employers, selecting a partner that can help implement an effective one-on-one enrollment approach is a good first step in delivering on benefit objectives. By looking for a carrier that offers customer-focused solutions and expertise and with a strong track record of successful partnerships, brokers and employers can ensure that employees receive the information they need to be confident in their benefits decisions.

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